Cryptocercidae

These are moderate-sized, wingless cockroaches with 1-3 spines ventrally at the tip of the front femur, and withoutocelli. None of the species in this family occurs indoors. There are four described species, two from China and Manchuria, and two from the USA. There is limited information on the biology and habits of these cockroaches. Except for a brief dispersal stage as late-stage nymphs or young adults, these cockroaches live their entire life cycle within galleries chewed in rotted logs.

These cockroaches are sometimes linked to termites. The association is based on their intestinal protozoa, which have the ability to digest cellulose, and the behavior of nymphs and adults remaining together in small groups. These groups consist of the breeding pair and their offspring from one reproductive season. Other cockroach species have adapted to feeding on wood. Panesthia in the family Blaberidae occur in Australia and they live in and are capable offeeding on decaying wood. The two common species, P. laevicollis and P. australis, are found

Figure 4.9 Blattaria: Blattidae. (a) Cryptocercus punctulatus adult; (b) C. punctulatus, terminal abdominal tergum; (c) C. punctulatus nymph; (d) Deropeltis erythrocephala male; (e) Methana marginalis male; (f) Neostylopyga rhombifolia adult, pronotum and thorax.

in rotting logs. Both sexes of several Panesthia species have well-developed wings, but these are broken off close to the base soon after they become adults.

Cryptocercus punctulatus (Fig. 4.9a-c) Adults are 28-33 mm long. The body is shiny and blackish brown to black. Both sexes are completely wingless. Eyes are small and there are no ocelli. The pronotum is thickened anteriorly, and it has a wide central furrow. Anterior margin of the pronotum is raised above the head like a hood (which is the origin of the common name, brown-hooded cockroach). Legs have large spines; the front femora has three spines on the ventral margin at the tip. Cerci are surrounded and concealed by the terminal tergum and sternum. Nymphs are pale brown to brown, and the cerci protrude beyond the margins of the terminal abdominal scle-rites. The oothecais 8-10 mm long and 2.3 mm wide; it is well sclerotized and the egg chambers are distinct; the keel is well developed. The ootheca contains about 17 eggs, and it is partially concealed with debris from the substrate by the female after deposition.

Natural habitats include the sapwood of wet and decayed logs in heavily forested areas. It does not usually occur in the urban environment. The typical habitat is wet and decayed hardwood and softwood logs where individuals are found feeding in the decayed sapwood portion of the wood. Partially decayed or apparently sound wood is also infested. Adults and nymphs feed on moist and decayed wood; zooflagellate protozoa digest cellulose in the hindgut. The protozoa faunais transferred to newly hatched nymphs through fecal pellets produced by other nymphs. When older nymphs prepare to molt, they cease feeding and no feces are passed for 2-3 days. During this time the cellulose-digesting protozoa in the hindgut become inactive and encyst. After molting, the firstfecal pellets of older nymphs contain large amounts of the protozoa. Fecal pellets are eaten by first-stage nymphs. This provides them a sufficient inoculation of the cellulose-digesting protozoa. This cockroach occurs as populations in the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern USA, from New York to northern Georgia, including Ohio and Tennessee.

The Zoomastigophora in the hindgut of C. punctulatus include species of Barbanympha, Leptospironympha, and Trichonympha. The latter is one of the several symbiotic flagellates inhabiting the gut ofsome species of termites. Species ofTrichonympha can be successfully exchanged between Cryptocercus cockroaches and Zootermopsis termites. Cellulose-digesting symbionts and behavior that involves parental care have led to the suggestions that Cryptocercus represents a stage in the development of termite-like social behavior. Atone time Cryptocercus was considered a primitive cockroach and perhaps an ancestor of termites. However, morphological and molecular sequence studies have shown that Cryptocercus is distant from termites.

Cryptocercus Clevelandi Adults are about 32 mm long. The body is reddish brown to nearly black. Both sexes are completely wingless. The pronotum is about 8.5 mm long and 10 mm wide; nearly black, lateral margins are slightly upturned. Mesonotum and metanotum are not as dark as the prono-tum, smooth, and finely punctate; lateral margins are slightly upturned. Abdominal terga 1-6 are dark reddish brown, mostly smooth, with scattered fine punctations. Abdominal sterna 2-6 are reddish brown and punctate. The punctations on the abdominal sterna are dense, particularly sternum 7. Oothecae contain about 43 eggs. C. clevelandi lives in biparental family groups and adults exhibit extended care of offspring. Social groups include pairs with first- and second-stage nymphs, pairs with offspring hatched the previous year, and females with nymphs hatched 2 years previously. Nymphal development takes 5-7 years to complete. Males and females pair during the year they mature, but do not reproduce until the following year (summer). This species occurs in rotting wood in upland temperate forestareas from southern Washington to northern California.

Other Cryptocercus The other extant species are wingless and have habits similar to the North American species. C. primarius occurs in Sichuan Province, China, and C. relictus in the Maritime region of the eastern Russian Federation.

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